To many Americans, Memorial Day has lost its meaning

Posted May 30, 2017

By 1966 Waterloo was official declared the birthplace of Memorial Day, by the federal government. At Indiantown Gap National Cemetery in Annville, about 100 miles northwest of Philadelphia, fresh flowers mark hundreds of graves, and fields of newly erected American flags flap in the breeze. "Words can't express the appreciation you have for people who are willing to go through and do what our men and women are having to deal with".

Memorial Day, observed on the last Monday in May in the United States, originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868 as a time to decorate the graves of the war's deceased soldiers. On Monday, the cemetery is holding a Memorial day service at 10. Veterans groups - with solid justification - feared that wrapping their day of remembrance into yet another three-day weekend would water down the solemnity of the day; the holiday events, travel, barbecues and store sales have proven them correct. After World War I, the day honored Americans who have died in all wars.

Those whom we honor on Memorial Day hold a special place in our nation's hall of heroes.

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Vietnam veteran Joe Hively said he enjoyed Brown's speech, and noted this was his first time to attend a Memorial Day service at the home, as he had moved in about 11 months earlier.

In this May 27, 2017 photo, Ken Palmer, left, and Stephen Straining, both of Harrisburg, greet motorcyclists as they ride into Indiantown Gap National Cemetery in Annville, Pa., for a Memorial Day weekend program.

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No matter what Americans are doing on Memorial Day, this act should encourage all of us to pause for a minute of silence to remember and honor the fallen. The war dead are all around us but mostly forgotten 364 days of the year, until Decoration Day comes 'round again.

Modesitt told service attendees that he sees a problem with this perception of the holiday, which was officially established in 1971 and dates back to the American Civil War. This day was created to specifically honor those who died defending our freedom, our unity and our democracy.

Waterloo, New York first celebrated what we now know as Memorial Day on May 5, 1866.

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